1.5 oz Old Tom gin (Ransom)
Dash Angostura bitters
3 Dash orange bitters (Urban Moonshine)
Lemon zest

Stir over ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Express oils over cocktail and garnish with lemon twist.

This recipe is from Modern American Drinks:How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks by George J. Kappeler, published in 1900. Ransom Old Tom Gin is one of the best offerings from Ransom Spirits, as it is very unique and delicious. With no addtional sweeteners, this cocktail is not for the faint of heart (though the Old Tom Gin does contribute more sweetness than a tradtional London Dry, a result of it's brief stint spent in barrels) The gin is citrus forward with grapefruit, lemon peel, ajowain, peppercorn, cardamom, cedar, pine, and juniper notes. In the same vein as the flavor profile of Ransom Distillery Small's Gin, cardamom takes the lead role. Thanks to brands like Urban Moonshine and Ransom Distillery, the ability to authentically make this classic cocktail with modern ingredients has become a reality. What's your favorite recipe with Old Tom Gin?


Stone Sour

Stone Sour:

1.5 oz. Old Tom Gin (Ransom) 
.75 oz. lemon juice 
.75 oz. orange juice (Cara Cara) 
2 dashes Rock Candy Syrup (Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)

Leave in ice. Stir well and serve.

This cocktail is from a small book of great recipes from 1917 called The Ideal Bartender by Tom Bullock of the St. Louis Country Club. The book is dedicated to "Those who enjoy snug club rooms, that they may learn the art of preparing for themselves what is good." Over a quarter century of work went into the 50 page book, and the cocktails that result are worthy of the effort. The Stone Sour is an excellent example of a cocktail showcasing Old Tom Gin. Old Tom Gin is a style of gin that was in favor in 18th century England, and it's popularity waned over time. It is a slightly sweetened gin, with a heady blend of botanicals, Ransom using cardamom for their dominant flavor profile as well as notes of vanilla, citrus, and malt. The recipe was developed with the collaboration of cocktail historian, David Wondrich. 

The Stone Sour is a refreshing blend of botanicals and bright citrus, and goes particulary well with spicy Indian food. The gum syrup can be replaced with rich simple syrup (2:1) and may be adjusted per preference. The drink quite good with other gins, but this is one cocktail where the Ransom Old Tom Gin really shines. 

Alice's Key- 1 part gin, 1 part Aperol, 1 part Bonal

Alice's Key:

1 part gin (Small's)
1 part Aperol
1 part Bonal Gentiane-Quina

Stir with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

The drink begins with a cardamom and candied grapefruit nose. The sip is smooth and on the sweet side. There is a welcome, slightly bitter finish from the cinchona in the Bonal that peeks out before the cardamom finish takes over. The Aperol adds a light fruitiness that mixes nicely with the Small's gin and is not quite as aggressive as Campari in this Negroni-style, equal-parts cocktail. However, Small's has been challenging to mix with due to its overwhelming cardamom finish. This characteristic was noted in a solid review at the Drink Spirits blog. It is not an easily swappable gin when following traditional cocktail recipes and its dominance needs to be considered in the creation of new gin cocktails. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but as noted earlier, challenging when mixing. It should also be noted that in addition to the cardamom, Small's also holds more nuanced notes of lemon rind, juniper, and star anise. In future iterations, lemon juice may be added to cut through the sweetness for a crisper finish.

Kina Cocktail- 1.5 oz dry gin, .75 oz Cocchi Americano, .75 oz Punt E Mes

Kina Cocktail:

1.5 oz. dry gin (Small's)
3/4 oz. Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Punt E Mes)

Stir with ice. Strain.

After a great night of cocktails with Eric Seed at Teardrop Lounge I was inspired to pick up a couple bottles from his mind-boggling portfolio, Cocchi Americano and Bonal Gentiane Quina (In PDX Pearl Specialty carries both). I started with the Kina cocktail from The Savoy Cocktail Book to experiment with. Cocchi Americano is considered the most accurate representation of Kina Lillet (no longer in production under the traditional formula).

The nose is strong juniper, mild citrus, with additional herbal notes reminiscent of chartreuse. The sweetness of the Punt E Mes tones back the initial spicy bitterness of the gentian and cinchona, which follow on the swallow enlivening the palate as a good aperitif should.The cinchona slowly builds upon sip mixed with ceylon, star anise, and followed with a strong gentian dryness and extreme cardamom finish of the Small's Gin from Ransom, a Portland local favorite.